This week we take our next steps toward offering same-sex blessings at St. Stephen’s. Recognizing the impasse we have reached with our archbishop on this issue, we are calling a Special General Meeting of the congregation to decide whether to apply for Shared Episcopal Ministry, an arrangement that would provide us with another bishop to oversee this one aspect of our parish life.
Shared Episcopal Ministry was conceived by the House of Bishops back in … as a means of breaking a deadlock between the bishop and several parishes of the Diocese of New Westminster (being Vancouver and the Lower Mainland). In that instance, the diocese had voted to authorize same-sex blessings. But some congregations were threatening to leave the diocese over the issue. So provision was made to invite a like-minded bishop to provide spiritual oversight for those congregations choosing not to offer same-sex blessings.
Our situation in Calgary, of course, is the reverse. Despite almost half the Anglican dioceses across the country authorising same-sex blessings, and despite the persistent pleas of three congregations in our diocese, our bishop is refusing to permit such blessings here. So we need to decide if we wish to exercise our right to ask for a different bishop to provide oversight in this one aspect of our ministry.
Please plan to attend one of our information sessions on Sunday, December 6, to learn more; and then to attend and participate in our Special General Meeting on Sunday, December 13, following the 10:30 service.